Cats continue preparations for Canada games

By: Steve Moss
By: Steve Moss

With a trip to Canada looming at the end of the week, coach John Calipari put his Wildcats through another practice on Tuesday, the first of two on the day.

With a trip to Canada looming at the end of the week, coach John Calipari put his Wildcats through another practice on Tuesday, the first of two on the day.

The coach spent much of the hour and a half demonstrating, in what Calipari is calling "cerebral" sessions.

With only four returning players from last year's 35-3 squad, the coach is doing more teaching early on. 

In Tuesday's practice session, the Cats worked on, among other things, rebounding and blocking out techniques.  Calipari urged his Cats to "want to be the best rebounder we have."

The coach stressed rebounding balls above the rim and having players shout when they grab a loose ball.  "Talking intimidates the other team," Calipari said.

UK's coach also instructed his team on defending the post.  Calipari wants his guys to use technique and shove his opponent out of the lane and onto the floor, where other Wildcats can provide weakside help.

During one particular drill, Calipari saluted junior Darius Miller for his defensive posture.  The coach likened Miller's approach to that of an infielder anticipating a ground ball.

"You've got to do that if you want to play," Calipari explained.

The young Cats also were schooled on the full-court press.  Calipari barked instructions about trapping and switching off as the ball was being inbounded and brought upcourt.

Calipari put his players through some half court drills, working on plays such as "5 down," and several "elbow" plays.

During one particular stoppage, Calipari emphasized posting up inside and demanding the basketball.  "Our games are on national TV," he said, inferring that if a player wants and calls for the basketball, he'd better be ready to do something with it once it goes inside to him.

Other notes:

* Nine guys suited up today for practice.
* Junior Josh Harrellson looks noticeably bigger and leaner.
* Enes Kanter has a presence about him.  It shows up when he gets
  gets the ball inside, where he has a nice touch around the rim.
* DeAndre Liggins appears more confident.  Calipari singled Liggins out
  during one stretch of instruction, saying, "He's (Liggins) is reacting
  now." 
* During several :30 drills, designed to maximize speed and agility
  around the rim, Kanter killed it.  He made the most layups of any of the
  players during the :30 drill.  He had the most tips off the glass, too.
* Jon Hood appears comfortable shooting from the outside.  With a year
  under his belt, it would seem Hood has more confidence in his game.
* Terrence Jones is still wearing a brace on his left ankle beneath his 
   shoe on his left ankle.  At times, Jones seemed timid. Other times,
   Jones showed no signs of a sprain.
* Brandon Knight is smooth.

The Cats continue their pre-Canadian tour practice Tuesday night.

Those are the highlights... Stay tuned.

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